Starbucks cup # 276
Just some simple words on the side of a coffee cup.
If you look on my Facebook page, you will see the absolute truth in my profile, under POLITICAL VIEWS.
Some of my conservative friends have been aghast when they discovered I am liberal. Some of my Democratic friends have been aghast when I told them I’ve voted Republican.
See, I’ll vote for the man — or woman — who I think is best for the job: someone who will not play party politics — or who I believe will play politics less than the other. Someone who is strong enough to make their own decisions, based on facts and circumstance — not based on what their constituency wants.
Because the truth is — and let’s face it, I’m talking mostly about the Presidency, here — I don’t want another Reagan or Nixon; nor a Carter, although his heart was in the right place, because he just wasn’t strong enough; nor a Clinton, who rarely bucked the dictates of the Dems-in-charge. I wanted Gary Hart. I wanted John Anderson.
I wanted a Prez who could be his own man.
But — we got party politics as usual.
Rush Limbaugh is the radio mouthpiece of American Conservatives, and the primary venue for their politics is Fox News on cable. Limbo (and all the jabbering heads on Fox News) tells his constituency — for, really, that’s what it is — exactly what they want to hear. He gives them support. It’s political therapy for the Haves, and screw the Have Nots. He — and Fox News, in their mean-spirited acts of biased outrage at, well, everything they don’t like — don’t give a damn about America. They only care about themselves . . . and, by extension, other conservatives . . . because there is strength in numbers; and numbers = power; and power, in 21st century America, equals money.
They want to be in charge. Bottom line. And they’ll do and say anything to wield that power.
Especially hurting the people that disagree with them.
This anger, this hatred, is contagious. And on a very human level, it is just evil.
I just can’t sit back any longer and be silent. I want to be as apolitical as possible, but I can’t take the dirty tricks any more. I can’t take the lies, the power plays, the ruining of reputations. Honestly, both the Dems and the GOP play these games; both the Liberals and the Conservatives. But for the last sixteen years, I have deduced one thing: the conservative Republicans are the worst. They hide behind the American Flag and the Bible, yet their actions contradict the very meaning of both. Freedom. Love. Tolerance.
Take, for example, the newborn hatred of our new President. He’s the one who Limbo, sarcastically, calls the Great Unifier, simply because Obama wants to bring the parties together to form a . . . wow! a nation of true Americans. United. Like the States.
But this will take power away from one party, will it not? If one wins, one will lose. Correct?
The old playground philosophy. Black, white; right, wrong; tit for tat. Old-fashioned thinking. Us versus Them. The politics of hate.
Last week, Republican Phil Gingrey courageously took Rush to task for criticizing the President. Courageous, I thought.
Only one day later, Gingrey called the conservative mouthpiece and publicly sucked up to his far-right base on the air:
Following statements made to Politico yesterday telling Rush Limbaugh to “back off,” Republican congressman Phil Gingrey now has his tail between his legs. In a groveling call to Limbaugh’s conservative radio program this afternoon, Gingrey offered a humble apology and described Limbaugh as a “conservative giant” who plays an integral role in maintaining the ever-decreasing Republican base.
My point: Politicos are bowing to a mere radio host; playing sides instead of doing their job for all of America. And this guy they’re bowing to makes public the conservative party position every day, that minorities can get away with anything, Hillary Clinton is a “B-I-itch” who has a “testicle lockbox,” and Obama is a “little black man-child.” The thing that kills me — and, to a degree, makes me want to laugh out loud — is that “Rush Limbaugh” is a character. Rush, the man, after a mediocre career in radio, then marketing, later reinvented himself in radio as a voice of conservatism in northern California. I point you to this blog by Beau Weaver, a national voice-over talent with a history in radio and the early days of Rush’s career, who chronicles and dissects the creation of “Rush Limbaugh.” Weaver’s conclusions are the same as mine: “Rush’s success has almost completely destroyed our ability to have a constructive national dialog about policy.”
It’s a collective voice of anger and hatred that will not listen to reason.
A friend of mine recently received some racist, anti-Obama email. It moved him to post a note to all his friends on Facebook:
How have we evolved and progressed as a people? The people of the United States have now elected their first black president. Yes, I know not everyone cast their vote for him, but a majority did, and most of the time in the U.S.A., the majority is on the side that wins. Not always, of course. There are exceptions, such as the elections of John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes over Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, Grover Cleveland over Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and of course, George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.
Many see this as a turning point in American history. That America has finally put aside its racial differences and made monumental change in the defeat of racism. I want to believe this is true. I desperately pray for a change of heart in my country. Racism serves no purpose in our lives. It is driven by fear and hate and the most despicable emotions in human nature. I love the United States and all it stands for. I am not proud of every aspect of our history, but I am very proud of my country on the whole. However, this post is really not about the president.
I must confess that when I look around, I still see so much work to be done. There are so many people in this nation that still judge a man by the color of his skin, not the quality of his character. And I will confess that there are times that I catch myself spouting something that could be offensive to others based on their ethnic background. I have honestly tried to change myself and the way I was raised to look past a person’s background and only judge them on what they present to me as a person on an individual basis. I don’t always succeed.
With that in mind, I ask these questions. How many times do we spout off a racially offensive joke or statement? How many times do we forward this type of joke or statement on to our friends when they arrive in our email box?
Do you send those “I love Christ” type of emails along with them? Do you think Christ would approve of your views?
Do you ignore them? Do you roll your eyes and delete them? Do you ask the person who sent it to you to not send you those types of insensitive things?
Do you laugh?
When you see this type of statement from your friends, does it change the way you view them? Do they remain your friends? What is our responsibility in combating the ongoing struggle to overcome our past and look towards a new future?
Should we ignore these statements, or should we make a stand? If we say something to the person who makes the statement, will it damage a friendship? Is it worth the possibility of losing that friend in order to move forward as a people? Will it even make a difference?
And this brings up another basic tenet of the American values. Freedom of speech. Guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Let’s state it here for all to read:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Congress shall make NO LAW…abridging the freedom of speech. Okay, but what about individuals? What is our responsibility? Just as I am looking in the mirror, I ask you to do the same.
For myself, all I can do is what I feel is right. And I will let this serve as my only notice to anyone who cares to have read this far into this post. I will not stand for any racist comment posted on my pages. They will be deleted. Repeated offenses will be “un-friended”. Say whatever you want on your own pages, but I will not tolerate it on mine. Do not send me any email with this type of humor. I do not care to read it.
I am not a saint, far from it. I will make mistakes. Sorry, just the way it is. But I will do my small part to advance our society and make this world even a slightly better place to live.
Those are good words, and they deserve to be read by many. They touch a deep, dark part of us all — they strike at a corner of our individual souls that is shameful.
I guess my main point is this: I really don’t care what Republicans do — or try to get others to do — in their own homes. The same goes for Democrats. Let them hate. They can keep it in their own, foul hearts, their own cesspool homes.
But when their childish actions, their one-sided politics, their mean-spirited beliefs — their hatred — affect the country as a whole, then, sorry, I have to speak up.
I have to speak against.
Against parties. Against politics. Against hate. Against the games that hurt you and me, where the money men in the shadows choose nasty, juvenile, irrelevant sides, like kids on a playground, playing kickball, and leaving out the kids they think are inferior. Against Rush and Hannity and O’Reilly. Against the schoolyard bullies.
Because we now have a Prez who will be his own man, who is not afraid to try to bring the parties and the politics together for the benefit of — GASP! — not just one party, but for as many Americans as possible, dems and cons, reps and libs . . . and all the people in between, which, frankly, is most of us.
A playground that’s fair to all.
I hope. And that is the hope of the true Americans who elected him: for a better country and a better world, not just a better life for a select few: the conservative elite.
The people who question authority; the people who challenge the status quo; the individuals who refuse to follow any party line; those who will not allow themselves to be cooed and wooed by the soothing babble of so-called leaders, who in reality, are party puppets; these are the people — the individuals, the free thinkers — whom I will side with.
Because the answer to uninformed opinion is not to try and stifle it or to take it away, but to add more voices, more informed opinion. To make a noise. To stir up a shitstorm.
It’s the only way to beat down a bully.
So I ask you to read. Everything. To ask questions. To challenge. To go outside your comfort zone. If you’re a lib, go read the Drudge Report. If you’re a con, go read the Huffington Post.
I will do both. And I’m also going to read ThinkProgress.org. They keep track of the crap America has to put up with.
And I ask you to fight. To be vocal.
Because the bullshit has to stop. The bullying has to stop.
The hate, the sheer political stupidity, has to stop.
An ignorant America, under one party, one policy, will never, ever work again. We need a better America. And Americans really don’t need more opinions — we need informed opinions.
Spread the words, no matter how simple or how eloquent.
Fight the hate.
Starbucks cup # 272